It’s not uncommon to hear of legal disputes that have ended up in court, resulting in both parties having to pay large sums in legal fees. What if that dispute could have been settled out of court for less cost, time and effort?

By Lynette Sudholz

Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’) allows the parties involved to reach a workable solution that reflects their individual needs. The outcome may be win-win for both parties, rather than a court decided win-lose situation.

What is ADR?

As the name states, the aim is to find an alternative way of resolving a dispute without the need for court or tribunal intervention. It commonly involves a third party to assist as a facilitator. The third-party acts as an unbiased mediator to hear the arguments of each party and assists the parties to find a mutually beneficial resolution.

ADR has different pathways depending on the nature of the dispute. It can be as simple as involving an independent third party to help resolve the dispute. ADR pathways include:

  1. Assisted negotiation;
  2. Mediation;
  3. Conciliation;
  4. Case Appraisal; and
  5. Arbitration.


‘Why do I need ADR?’

When parties engage in ADR processes, they often feel heard and valued and this assists them to reach agreement to an outcome which they see as fair and just.

A lawyer can weigh up the dispute options and provide you with information and guidance on which process to take, or a lawyer can act as the mediator and listen to the parties as an impartial third party. A lawyer can also be used to represent the voice and opinion of a party. This can take out a great deal of the emotion behind the dispute, and allow the facts to be stated without being clouded by feelings and reactions. These options are designed to result in a streamlined and cost-effective outcome.

Litigation is a costly, lengthy and emotionally draining process. Whilst some of the ADR processes are not legally binding, having the ADR conversation with willing parties can be beneficial to resolving matters before embarking on litigation. Working with a lawyer can ease the emotional and financial burden of these disputes, while also ensuring rights are legally protected.

If you would like to discuss any ADR processes to resolve a legal dispute you are in, contact one of our friendly solicitors at BELAW today.